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The five finalist startups pitching at the 2023 Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), Kenyan edition

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Visa has announced the five finalists chosen for the final round of the 2023 Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI). 

The initiative, in partnership with Loop, a Kenyan money management platform, sought out entrepreneurs who are solving payment and commerce challenges faced by businesses of all sizes and sectors while uplifting communities.

Since its launch in 2015, the VEI program has aided over 12,000 startups from 100 countries, collectively raising more than $16 billion in funding. 

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In the previous year, the competition awarded over $530,000 in prize money, attracting over 4,000 participating startups from five regions. 

This year, the VEI Kenyan edition will award a total of $40,000 in prize money across different categories, including $20,000 for the overall winner, $10,000 for the audience favourite, and a newly introduced $10,000 Impact prize for the organization with a positive social impact.

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Five startups have advanced to the finals and will present their ideas to an audience on Thursday, April 6. 

These finalists were selected from a pool of approximately 200 applicants aiming to secure funding from Visa and scale their operations and they include:

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  1. Ndovu: Founded in February of the previous year, Ndovu is a wealth-tech platform that provides easy access to financial markets. It was established to address the complexities and high fees that prevent many Kenyans from participating in investment options.
  2. Africa Blockchain Center: Founded in September 2021, this company focuses on capacity building, product development, incubation, and research and development in the blockchain field. It aims to drive Africa’s adoption of the fourth industrial revolution through blockchain technology.
  3. Leja (formerly Asilimia): Established in 2017, Leja is a Kenyan fintech that offers a digital payments platform to empower small businesses. It aims to connect African micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to the formal financial economy and address the continent’s $360 billion credit gap.
  4. Ai-fluence: Founded in 2019, Ai-fluence is Africa’s first AI-driven Influencer Marketing Platform. It provides an end-to-end solution to enhance and scale marketing strategies for Kenyan influencers and similar professionals.
  5. Paylend: As one of Kenya’s most popular fintech startups, Paylend focuses on providing finance access and digitizing MSMEs. Since its establishment in September 2019, it has digitized over 10,000 SMEs and aims to bridge the consumer data gap while supporting MSMEs across Africa.

The VEI competition in Kenya will hold an in-person event on Thursday, July 6, which will also be live-streamed on YouTube. 

The winner of this competition will advance to the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (CEMEA) finals, scheduled to be live-streamed on July 27 on TechCrunch. 

The CEMEA regional winner will then proceed to the global finale at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco on September 19.

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Diana Mutheu
Diana Mutheu
Diana Mutheu is a Tech enthusiast, happy to delve deeper into the African tech space covering Social Media, AI, Startups, Telcos, Cryptocurrency, Big Data, Women in Tech and all matters Tech. Write to me @[email protected]

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